Let’s talk about cats.
One of the banes of my existence…
is cleaning out the cat litterbox. I don’t even know if I have multiple banes or just one but either way the litter box is tops. We have to keep the box in a cabinet with a half-cracked door so only the cat can squeeze in and out. If we don’t then our dogs constantly sneak into the laundry room and eat hot-n-ready cat snacks. I generally wouldn’t mind because I think people (and dogs) should be free to live their best life but all the attempted face licks and crumbles of litter expanding in the water bowl are too much. I tried switching to the minty litter and telling myself it was good for the dogs’ breath but I knew… Then they puked a belly of sparkle minty cat cookies in the foyer only to eat them again and puke them again elsewhere. So… in the cabinet the box goes. Out of sight. Out of mind.
The trouble with the out-of-sight approach is that I forget about it. Not for a day or two but for a week. I remember when I start seeing cat tracks created by standing in super-saturated litter and then walking across the hardwood. How is the litter wet? How does my cat pee that much? Does she have cat diabetes or something? It just seems to happen too quickly. There is more liquid in the box than I have physically put in her water bowl. Physics can’t explain. At that point, the litter is so soggy and soaked that I just throw the whole pan in the trash and empty a new thing of litter. Glamorous.
I’d feel bad but I didn’t want the damned cat and a pregnancy fourteen years ago was the excuse for why I needed to be the primary cat-shit handler. Apparently there is a risk of toxoplasma-something that is bad for babies. Once baby Jane and her three other siblings were born and I had my snip, I made an appeal to transfer cat duties to Supermom but I was denied a hearing. So I am trying to do it poorly until I am relieved of my curse.
Which brings me to my story.
In a particularly bad round of litterbox forgetfulness, the cat decided that the dense fog of ammonia hanging over a mound of moist turds was too much. She made the executive decision to piss and shit on my favorite jacket for what smelled like three to four days. Side note: The lavender scoops of scented pellets (that are supposed to give laundry a relaxed feel) transform into anxiety and shame when mixed with a tainted jacket.
Supermom got tired of hearing me fuss about a jacket that used to be my favorite but now I drag around the perimeter of my property to ward off strays. She bought a fancy automatic litterbox. The box advertised a laser and special litter “crystals”. There was even a hunched cat that looked satisfied to be relieving himself. There is a timer to optimize turd drying time and minimize accidentally scooping the cat into the dump tray. What more could a lazy cat owner hope for?
But this my dear friends …is where things go wrong.
Since the previous box was an enclosed cave sort of deal we decided that Cat might be confused. We decided that she needed an introduction to this new golden toilet.
We wanted the date to go well. We needed it to. I couldn’t afford to lose another jacket in the midst of winter.
We removed the old seepy box of litter and arranged the new space-aged box in its place. Supermom placed Cat in the new litter so she could know this was her new bathroom. The fancy “crystal” litter made a sound that was slightly like scooping ice out of a cooler. Cats don’t use coolers or ice so Cat was sure that she had been placed in crushed glass. She tried to run and Supermom held out her hand to block the exit. This made Cat more concerned and she tried another route to escape. At this point I stepped up to help keep her corralled in the litter pan. She panicked and tried to run but found little purchase for her tiny paws in the fancy litter.
Supermom set Cat free and we retreated to discuss everything we did not achieve.
By setting up a cascade of panic we ensured that no matter where Cat decided to shit, it would 100% NOT be in the new litterbox. She was so panicked that we couldn’t find her for an hour.
The cheap Walmart box that worked for ten years was replaced by an expensive box that failed on day one. Fantastic.
I will never own another cat. Easy life was not meant for me and neither are cats. They can stay outside and shit in any old crack in the ground where a hundred natural animals can then eat it up and it not require a scoop or fancy timed turd rake. Yum. Yay nature.
If your best intended plans ever backfire, this post is for you. We did coax the cat into using the box by hiding an old turd in it and locking her in the room. She had food, water, and a litterbox; cat prison. It worked. You’re welcome. I don’t have an answer for the smell in the jacket. Maybe fire.
-Underdaddy to the rescue.